Off the beaten path at Carmel High, the cheerfully decorated walls and supportive environment of Room 9 welcome students and visitors. The quote of the day written on the whiteboard says, “We may have different religions, languages, different colored skin, but we all belong to one human race.”
As the head of this cozy classroom, Ralph Ward sits behind his desk with a smile and a contagious laugh. Teaching Advanced Algebra, Civics and Academic Study Hall, Ward is deeply passionate about his students and teaching.
After graduating from West Virginia Tech University, Ward was a high school football coach. Then, the words of a player changed his occupation and his life.
“An athlete told me that I was so inspirational as a coach that he wished he had a teacher like me,” Ward says, “so I jumped into the field of teaching.”
In the last six years, Ward has found great joy in his work and enjoys spending time with his family, exercising and being involved in his children’s lives. Previously, he has taught locally at North Salinas High School.
“Kids are kids,” Ward says, “but there are more resources here for students and staff, both of whom have been welcoming and friendly.”
Ward looks forward to meeting new people, assimilating into the culture of CHS and teaching according to his motto: “Helping students reach their full potential.”
When passing by the always-open doorway of his classroom, one can always see Kevin Buran interacting with his students, encouraging them to enjoy science with a playful grin and a passion for their success.
The teacher of 14 years transferred from Carmel Middle School, where he taught sixth grade Earth Science and eighth grade Physical Science, to CHS, where he is teaching Anatomy and Physiology as well as Biology.
Buran attended U.C. Irvine where he earned his Bachelor’s of Science and Biology. Later, he received his teaching credential from Chapman University.
What exactly inspired Buran to teach?
“June, July and August. No, I’m just kidding!” Buran laughs. “It kind of slipped into my life. It’s hard to describe. But now that I’m in it, I love it.”
Outside of school, Buran enjoys camping, surfing, backpacking and spending time with his family, though he can see his wife, English Language Development teacher, Brenda Buran, around campus.
This year, Buran is looking forward to being on a new campus and adjusting to high school life.
“It’s fun so far. The students are nice and the staff is supportive. The students are so tall!” he jokes.
Buran wants his students to love science, be passionate about learning and become good thinkers. He is excited to join the Robotics Club and get to know the students, staff and campus.
A silent classroom does not subdue the gregarious and perky persona of Kay Vetter, who instills enthusiasm in her students with and without her voice.
At CHS, Vetter is teaching all four levels of American Sign Language. Vetter earned a degree in social work and rehabilitation services from University of Northern Colorado and has spent the last 25 years teaching ASL in Paso Robles, Calif.
Vetter is impressed by Carmel’s campus, the staff and, most importantly, the students.
“I am so excited to be in this school with these kids,” she says. “The students here are top notch, polite, respectful and hardworking. The school is such a positive environment.”
Vetter hopes her students achieve as much as possible in ASL and become involved in the local deaf community, learning ASL in a fun and social environment.
Vetter has taught in Africa, and she adores traveling, cooking and spending time with her family. Some of her more adventurous pursuits include skydiving, white-water rafting and flying ultralight aircraft.
“I’m a bit of a daredevil!” she giggles.
Vetter is both grateful and excited to work at CHS and is taking on the year with zeal.
“I feel like I’ve fallen into a little slice of heaven,” Vetter says. “It’s a beautiful school in a beautiful area, and everyone has been welcoming to me. I couldn’t ask for a better place to be!”